China says 16 Chinese COVID-19 vaccines undergoing clinical trials

As the demand for the COVID-19 vaccine intensified around the world, China said that it has increased the number of vaccines undergoing clinical trials to 16 from 11 to step up supplies at home and abroad.

China is conducting clinical trials of 16 COVID-19 vaccines, seven of which have entered phase-III trials and one has conditionally hit the market, Wu Yuanbin, an official with the Ministry of Science and Technology, was quoted as saying by the state-run CGTN TV.

Wu made the comments during a haematology conference on Saturday.

Yang Sheng, Deputy Director of China’s National Medical Products Administration’s drug registration bureau, said last month that a total of 11 Chinese vaccine candidates are in different stages of testing at home and abroad.

Currently, China is vaccinating people at home and some countries abroad with two vaccines. The Chinese government has given conditional approval to Sinopharm while the results of the phase-3 trial is yet to be released.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is reviewing the trials of both the vaccines.

China has said that so far 46 countries have expressed their desire to import the China-made vaccines.

Respiratory-disease expert Zhong Nanshan said on Sunday that the mass inoculation of homegrown COVID-19 vaccines underway in China shows the vaccines are safe and effective.

The two vaccines currently in use in China – the China National Biotec Group (CNBG) COVID-19 vaccine and the CoronaVac vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. – are both inactivated vaccines that are relatively safe, Zhong said at the launch ceremony of an event in south China’s Guangdong province.

According to the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), more than 24 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in China till Sunday, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

“The rate of the vaccines’ mild adverse reactions, which include fever, soar arms and other symptoms, is six per 100,000 people,” Zhong said.

The rate of severe adverse vaccine reactions is one in a million, only one third of that of flu vaccines, he said.

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